Mumbai BBDO, the global marketing and communications agency synonymous for its work on many of the world’s most famous brands hosted an exclusive client event in India this week.
The event marked the unveiling of key insights from the latest study on brand purpose in Asia, which was carried out under the agency’s BBDO Voices insights program by BBDO Asia. The study explores the relevance and impact of using brand purpose as an approach to brand positioning and uncovers important by-country nuances that marketers in the region need to navigate to build their brands successfully across markets in the region.
BBDO Voices, now celebrating its 13th year, has provided valuable insights and thought leadership to brand marketers, planners, and creatives in China. This latest study marks the expansion of the program’s coverage to also include other key Asian markets such as South Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and India.
BBDO Asia CEO TzeKiat Tan highlights the pivotal role of India in the Asian brand landscape, owing to its rapid population growth and dynamic market. She stated, "India holds great significance for us, and in a market as dynamic as this, it's essential for brands to embrace diverse cultures and consumer perspectives for success. The insights from this study provide us with valuable knowledge to building a strong brand presence in markets like India."
BBDO India CEO Suraja Kishore added, “The report is revealing in the fact that unlike in developed nations, in developing countries like India people expect brands to go beyond selling. Indian consumers want brands and companies to do their best for the ecosystem they deal in, e.g. if you are an automobile brand then consumers expect you to also look at how can you improve the quality of roads, or how can you enhance safety on the roads or clean toilets on the highway. We believe that brands can have a meaningful impact on society and culture. BBDO Voices will further help marketers, brands and companies build effective purpose-driven brand narratives beyond their own gain when wanting to connect with consumers in India.”
Speaking about BBDO Voices, BBDO India chairman and chief creative officer Josy Paul said “People are looking for meaning not brands. By combining the quantitative data and intelligence of BBDO Voices with the emotional data and deep listening understanding of BBDO India, we can deliver greater connection, conversation and conversion for brands.”
According to BBDO Asia's latest report, Asian consumers actively seek brands that align with their values and address critical societal topics, such as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), and women empowerment.
Among the four major trends identified to watch are:
1. Climate change to likely speed up the importance of brand purpose. Environment and sustainability issues are the leading social topic Asian consumers want brands to champion the most today. As the effects of global warming intensifies, more consumers will look to brands to embrace a sense of urgency and be part of the solution rather than the problem. When this happens, brand purpose will significantly impact brand and customer relations much more than now.
2. Brand purpose will become De Riguer for marketers as Gen Z Asian consumers come of age and take over society. While traditional mindsets and narratives still persist in the region, those under 25 demonstrate progressive voices on issues like LGBT+ acceptance and advocacy. They will expect brands to be their voice, and brands that do not stand for a social purpose will lose social currency.
3. Brands will increasingly have the same accountability as quasi-government bodies. This is especially true in the developing regions of Asia where consumers are 20 per cent to 40 per cent more likely to have sought out brands due to its perceived impact on society. Here, citizens expect brands to step up and fill gaps which public governance systems often cannot. In this sense, consumers in developing parts of Asia will continue to expect brands to embrace the same agenda as governments.
4. Brand purpose is Asia will have Asian characters. Brand purpose in Asia can never exist in a vacuum. Among those who bought a purpose brand within the three months prior to the survey, 6 out of 10 also bought it for its functional characteristics. To be relevant to the region’s consumers, a brand purpose narrative will always need to be rooted in what the product or service is supposed to functionally deliver. It also needs to be supplemented by rational/functional content along the customer journey.
With its latest study, BBDO Asia hopes to help marketers, brands and companies build effective purpose-driven brand narratives beyond their own gain when wanting to connect with consumers in this region.
To access the full report and gain valuable consumer insights from each country examined, please click here.